“The Barrymore Tithe Victory”


"There was a poor man, and he had but one cow, The Parson had seized her." depriving the family of milk. At auction, guarded by "the Watergrass Hill boys," "no human being would Drimon dare buy." The cow is returned.


The context is "The Tithe War": O'Connell's Catholic Association was formed in 1823 to resist the requirement that Irish Catholics pay tithes to the Anglican Church of Ireland. The "war" was passive for most of the period 1823-1836, though there were violent incidents in 1831 (source: _The Irish Tithe War 1831_ at the OnWar.com site)

Zimmermann: "The crops and goods seized when people refused to pay the tithes were auctioned; large crowds would often attend the forced sale, but refused to bid, and prevented anyone from purchasing."

Watergrass Hill and the barony of Barrymore are in County Cork.

See "Drimindown" for a discussion of Drimin, refering to a cow, as a metaphor for Ireland. In this case there is a chorus in Irish Gaelic that Zimmermann translates as "Dear brown fair-backed cow, O silk of the kine, Your people did not die but will survive, Daniel (O'Connell) and his friends are strong in the fight, And they will beat every strong man in the world that opposes them." - BS

For the Tithe War, see the notes and references under "The Battle of Carrickshock." For a later instance of Irish tenants outwitting those who would confiscate their livestock, see "The Moneygran Pig Hunt." - RBW.

Cross references


  1. Zimmermann 41, "The Barrymore Tithe Victory" (1 text, 1 tune)
  2. BI, Zimm041


Author: unknown
Earliest date: c.1831 (Zimmermann)